Change the Ref Trolls the NRA with Cookies

By | January 4, 2021

Just before Thanksgiving, the National Rifle Association tweeted a picture of Santa holding a scroll with the word “ammo” repeated over and over. The image included the caption, “Dear Santa, You give us ammo. We give you cookies. It’s that simple.—@NRA.”

That obviously didn’t sit well with many, especially anti-gun violence groups like Change the Ref (CTR). Agency Alma worked with the organization to bring attention to the NRA’s tone-deaf request by baking 1,700 cookies in the shape of shooting victims and delivering them directly to the NRA. The number of cookies represents each child or teen who dies each year from gun violence.

A video shows CTR founders Manuel and Patricia Padauy-Oliver, the parents of Parkland shooting victim Joaquin “Guac” Oliver, in their kitchen baking the cookies. It goes on to demonstrate the couple puncturing the people-shaped figures to represent bullet holes. The ad is promoted with the hashtag #onecookieperkid.

The movement gained energy and traction on social media, and other anti-gun violence organizations and activists joined in. Guns Down America, March for Our Lives and Parkland survivor and activist David Hogg all promoted the action and Change the Ref posted them, delivering the cookies directly to the NRA headquarters in Virginia.

A film from social media news outlet Now This shows that the activists were initially stopped by the NRA’s security guard, who told them their presence wasn’t wanted. In response, Padauy-Oliver and Hogg laid out all the cookies on a sidewalk in front of the NRA sign, documenting their efforts.

“This initiative with Alma to remind the NRA of all the innocent lives lost is an important way to end the year and usher in a new one,” said Change the Ref founder Manuel Oliver.  “As we enter into 2021, we’ll continue our efforts with renewed hope to end gun violence.”

The group’s previous efforts saw a Valentine’s Day mural placed high above the streets in New York, gun-shaped soaps, and the creation of the Museum of the Incomplete for social change.

Kyle O’Brien is a freelance writer based in Jim Thorpe, Pa.